Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review of A Whole New World by Liz Braswell


Title/Author: A Whole New World (Twisted Tales #1) by Liz Braswell
Publisher/Date published: Disney Press, September 1st 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed? This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie?

When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.

What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

I'm BACK! I know it's been almost two months and I'm very much embarassed by that, but after reading A Whole New World, I found that I had something to say again and I decided to just go for it :)

A Whole New World immediately caught my attention, because I LOVE Aladdin! It's one of my favourite Disney movies and I've watched it so many times, I can literally just mute it and still get all the words right, especially for the first part. Which is also why I noticed that the first 20% of this book is basically the same as the movie. Which was not very much appreciated by me. And that's because I was looking for a fresh take on this beloved tale of mine and not have the first 76 pages be something I know by heart, but in book-form. But then the twist comes when Jafar takes the lamp instead of Aladdin and I was like, ok, let's give this another chance. But in the end I didn't really warm up to this twisted tale.

I mean, in the original tale, I love Aladdin's heart and his bravery and resourcefulness and the romance with Yasmine is believable and sweet, but in A Whole New World I was very much not feeling it. While the instant infatuation works in the Disney movie, here it fell flat and Yasmine definitely shows a side of herself that I didn't find pretty at all in A Whole New World and I really couldn't find myself cheering for their lovestory. I mean, even Jafar, who I love to hate in the original tale was not his best villainy self. I mean, he's this big bad sorcerer now, how does he not just kill Aladdin, capture Yasmine and be done with it? Also, I HATED that he destroyed the magic carpet, who is still one of my favourite characters.

But most of all, I'm disappointed by the lack of shininess that was the genie. I mean, you get this sort of charm coming off him, but it's muted and I get that he has less chance to show his magic and humour and all when he's tied to Jafar, but this spark that he has was just missing and I'm kinda disappointed by how things ended for him.

But aside from this, I was just basically a bit bored by the whole story. It never really got exciting for me and the charm and sizzle that I remember from this story was just missing. I felt that the things that were added to make it into this twisted tale were not really interesting or needed to be there. What I'm looking for with all these retelling and twists on classic stories are things that make me go ooh, that's clever and capture the magic of the original thing, but also make it a little something more. And I never got that from A Whole New World, which is a disappointment as I'd really been looking forward to reading it.
I might just go and watch the movie and laugh over the genie's antics now.

My rating: 1,5 stars

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Review of The Maddening Lord Montwood by Vivienne Lorret


Title/Author: THe Maddening Lord Montwood (The Rakes of Fallow Hall #3) by Vivienne Lorret
Publisher/Date published: Avon Impulse, July 14th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: Frances Thorne can handle anything — except losing her position, her home, and her father to debtor's prison all in one day. So when a generous offer of assistance falls into her lap, she's grateful for a second chance, even if it seems too good to be true. The last thing she needs is for the charming, infuriating — maddening — Lord Lucan Montwood to stand in her way.

The end of the bachelors' wager is near, and Lucan Montwood can taste victory — just so long as he can stay away from the one woman who sees through his fa├žade. Yet when he learns that Frances has been caught in an insidious trap, Lucan can't deny that he will do anything to help. Convincing her to trust him is the hard part, resisting her is next to impossible, but falling in love with her? That may be far too simple.

So I read both of the other books in this series and looking back, I think I actually liked the first one, The Elusive Lord Everhart, the best. Though this one was enjoyable as well.

I'm used to rooting for the heroine and connecting with her and understanding how she jumps to the wrong conclusions at times. I mean, in most romance novels there misunderstandings, and that's ok, as long as I can GET the misunderstanding. But in The Maddening Lord Montwood, I had a hard time going along with the choices the heroine, Frances, makes. I mean, she cultivates a dislike for Lucan Montwood and doesn't listen to his advice, even though she's known him for ages and doesn't really have a reason to dislike him. Obviously his father wronged Frances' father, but it's also very clear that Lucan didn't have anything to do with it and that he hasn't been in contact with his father since it happened, so how does she find a reason to blame him, at least partly, for all of it? Also, she keeps disregarding his doubts about a certain character that turns out to be a true villain, even though it's SO obvious and UGH. I really wanted to just shake her and see what was right in front of her.

So Frances and I didn't really click. Though I did like her boldness towards the end and that she teaches selfdefense to women. That was pretty awesome. I did, however, very much like Lucan. I liked him in the previous books as well, so I'm happy he got his happily ever after in The Maddening Lord Montwood. He carries a lot of darkness from his past with him and he's just full of kindness and just a good man deep down. And also, I liked that he knows sleight of hand and sneaks into houses and such. What can I say, I like my men a little mischievous.

The plot mostly flows from Frances' less than stellar life choices, so I wasn't all that excited about it, but watching the romance unfold was nice, but not the heartwrenching, tears in my eyes kind of story that I love. It was an enjoyable read, but for me it wasn't that special one that stays with you after finishing the book.

My rating: 2,5 stars

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review of The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


Title/Author: The Fixer (The Fixer #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher/Date published: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, July 7th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: When sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is sent to live with her older sister, Ivy, she has no idea that the infamous Ivy Kendrick is Washington D.C.'s #1 “fixer,” known for making politicians' scandals go away for a price. No sooner does Tess enroll at Hardwicke Academy than she unwittingly follows in her sister's footsteps and becomes D.C.'s premier high school fixer, solving problems for elite teens.

Secrets pile up as each sister lives a double life... until their worlds come crashing together and Tess finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy with one of her classmates and a client of Ivy's. Suddenly, there is much more on the line than good grades, money, or politics, and the price for this fix might be more than Tess is willing to pay

I totally freaking loved this book, so much that it made me itch to write a review. Which hasn't happened in over a month. I blame all this on the awesomeness of The Fixer!

Mystery and thriller type novels aren't usually my thing, but for Jennifer Lynn Barnes I make an exception, because with The Naturals series she has proven that she's beyond capable of drawing me in that kind of story. And she once again had me absorbed, this time in Tess' story.
Tess hasn't had an easy year, she's been caring for her grandfather, who has Alzheimer's and she's been covering for his lapses, trying to keep everything afloat. And I SO felt for her, I mean, she's put her life on hold because she loves her grandfather so much and doesn't want to be separated from him. Imagine being a teenager and taking on that responsibility. I also felt that Jennifer Lynn Barnes portrayed the effects of Alzheimer's on a person really well. Having a loved one suffering from this disease is one of my worst nightmares, so seeing it in a novel always hits me in the feels.

But then Ivy, Tess' older sister by 17 years, comes back after being gone for 3 years, takes charge of the situation and whisks Tess off to live with her. And their relationship is complicated. There are trust issues and old wounds that reopen and it doesn't help that Ivy's job as a professional fixer means that she keeps a lot of secrets about a lot of powerful people. But I loved seeing them interact and how they grow and I'm really hoping things will get better between them in the sequel.

So there's a whole lot of politics going around and Tess sorta accidentally gets thrown in the middle of it through the sons and daughters of said powerful people, who she goes to school with. And obviously Tess and her friends don't go to an adult with their concerns at first, but decide to do a little digging themselves, and while I'm not sure if that could have happened in the real world, it is a thing of beauty to read about.
I LOVED Tess' friends, I mean, Vivvie offers to cheer Tess up by recapping her favourite romance novel and/or horror movie. That is my kind of girl. And ASHER. So much love for Asher and his antics and boyness. I love that he says things like "You say go away, I hear be my bosom buddy." He reminds me a bit of Sturmhond from The Grisha Trilogy and for me that's pretty high praise. I can also get behind Henry, who broods beautifully. But mostly, they are all smart and loyal and I constantly got the urge to just hug Vivvie and most of all Asher. I like it when that happens!

There are a whole lot of twists and turns, some I saw coming, some I did not even come close to. Mostly, it kept me on the edge of my seat, wanting to read on and on and grumbling at work and social events that got in the way of this. It was intriguing and because I was so invested in the characters, I felt like I HAD to know right then and there. And though The Fixer ends with somewhat of a cliffhanger, it's mostly a promise of more awesomeness to come in the sequel and I liked it.

There's this amazing thing about Jennifer Lynn Barnes' writing that just clicks with me! I love her style and the voice she gave to Tess and how she mixes this fastpaced, exciting plot with heaps of humor, which always gets you brownie points from me. I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading The Fixer, laughing out loud at certain passages and just not wanting to put it down. So yeah, I pretty much adored The Fixer and cannot wait for the sequel!

My rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hyped Books I Haven't Read


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by my other blog The Broke and the Bookish

Note: I do actually own all of these books, so there's the intention to read them at some point in life.

1. The Wrat and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: this has been getting a LOT of hype lately and OMG I desperately want to read it, but SO MANY BOOKS SO LITTLE TIME.

2. Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: this has been pushed towards me by many, many people. And while at first glance I wasn't much interested, the things I've heard about it are SUPER cute, which is right up my alley.

3. The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski: basically this one got hype all over the place when it came out and it made me both want to read it and a little scared of it, but some day.

4. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: this could have basically been ANY book by Rainbow Rowell, but I feel like this has been shoved into my face SO many times! And even though the description still doesn't hold all that much appeal to me, I still bought it, so you know, THE HYPE MONSTER WORKS.

5. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes: anything Jojo Moyes writes gets a lot of hype, but I started noticing with this one. I don't usually read books that deal with illness or the aftermath of accidents, but maybe this one is worth all the hype?

6. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: *hides* I KNOW OK? I've been meaning to read this FOREVER but all the love slightly scares me...

7. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick: basically I'm scared that I won't love this one as much as everyone and their great aunt did. But it does sound SO CUTE and fluffy contemporaries are my jam, so.

8. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: this one of overhyped and even people who don't read know about this one, even before the movie came out. This is definitely out of my comfort zone, but as most books that get a movie, I do feel like I should read it. The debate is ongoing.

9. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith: some loved it, some didn't love it so much, but there has been a lot of talk about this one. I mean, 48 of my friends on Goodreads have read this (yes, I actually counted them). It has a cute British boy in it, what could possibly go wrong?

10. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan: I think only J.K. Rowling writing a sequel to Harry Potter would have gotten more hype at the time. And since I LOVED the Percy Jackson series, I REALLY need to get it together and read this.

Monday, July 6, 2015

HI!

So I haven't blogged in over a month... EPIC FAIL I KNOW


June has been a mix of spending two weeks on vacation in Thailand (which was AMAZING), then night shift week of DOOM, then a heat wave entered Holland and I've had zero desire to do anything but sit outside underneath a parasol and read, sometimes sliding over into the little pool that we set up. SO. That's where I've been ;) I'll give a more extensive update soonish. Possibly with pictures :)

Anyway, today I felt the urge to blog again, so I'll probably be slowly getting back into this, I have a TON of books that I need to review cause of all the reading I've been doing and it's a bit overwhelming, but you gotta start somewhere right?

Hope you're all enjoying Summer!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Blog Tour + Giveaway! Powerless by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs


Title/Author: Powerless (The Hero Agenda #1) by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Fire, June 2nd 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: Kenna is tired of being "normal". The only thing special about her is that she isn't special at all. Which is frustrating in a world of absolutes. Villains, like the one who killed her father, are bad. Heroes, like her mother and best friend, are good. And Kenna, unlike everyone else around her, is completely ordinary— which she hates.

She’s secretly working on an experiment that will land her a place among the Heroes, but when a Villain saves her life during a break-in at her lab, Kenna discovers there’s a whole lot of gray area when it comes to good and evil and who she can trust.. After all…not all strength comes from superpowers.

I personally really enjoyed Powerless, as it's another take on the superhero lore and that's always exciting to me :)
For this blog tour to celebrate the release of POWERLESS everyone is answering the question: “If I could have any superpower…” and below you'll find their very interesting answers!

Tracy Deebs, POWERLESS co-author

If I could have any superpower in the world, I would be a technopath. Anyone who knows me knows how absurd it is to imagine me as one—and just how grateful I would be if I had that power. I’m one of those people who actually repel technology. I can almost never get those soap dispensers or faucets that turn on when you wave your hands to work in the bathroom, my computers, smartphone, and tablet always do the most bizarre things imaginable, wherever I am technological things stop working, and I have the power to demagnetize hotel room keys (and my college cafeteria card) just by touching them. So, yes, being a technopath sounds pretty awesome to me …

Tera Lynn Childs, POWERLESS co-author

If I could have any superpower, I’d pick the ability to control the weather. First, I’d head to California and bring on a monsoon season of non-stop rain to end the mega-drought. Then I’d come home to Vegas and do a little tinkering with the seasons. Keep it under 100 in the summer, stay away from the below-freezing temps no one believes we actually get in the winter, and make sure that spring and fall are full of as many thunderstorms as possible. The more thunder, lightning, and rain, the better!

Learn more about Tera and Tracy at www.HeroAgenda.com.

***

Leah Scheier, author of YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR, describes her superhero alter-ego:

I am Celebrita and my super-power is the ability to morph into any celebrity. Naturally, I only use my powers for good. I'm not in it for the free Versace gowns, the private jets and the red carpet struts. Instead, I make myself available to the hardworking celebrity who can't handle getting up in the morning for an early shoot due to a rough night of partying. Sleep in, dear celebrity. I will be there for you, dressed entirely in saran wrap and diamonds. Stuck in rehab for a few weeks? Never fear, I'll appear in photo ops with orphans for your favorite charity functions.

Unfortunately, I have an evil twin named Paparazza. She has the same super power as I do, but she is armed with a selfie stick and insatiable greed. She is responsible for the great PR disaster stories: wardrobe malfunctions and public meltdowns, DWI arrests, and pretty much every Kim and Kanye appearance on record. A great reckoning is coming. Keep your eye on PEOPLE magazine…

Leah’s Sourcebooks Fire debut YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR releases in September. Learn more about this book at http://www.leahscheier.com/.

***

Zoraida Cordova, author of THE VAST AND BRUTAL SEA

If I had a superpower it would be the ability to change into a mermaid... I'm sure this is not surprising! But I would make it my mission to discover the world's ocean. I would bring back all of my findings, and search out lost civilizations. Like Indiana Jones meets Ariel.

Pick up Zoriaida’s YA novel THE VAST AND BRUTAL SEA available in trade paperback now. And contact the author on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/CordovaBooks.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Off To Thailand!


So this year the boyfriend and I have made the good life decision to go on vacation to Thailand! :) So we'll be enjoying the good life, good food and beautiful scenery as pictured above.
It is pretty hard to leave the kitty behind (we already dropped her off at the boyfriend's brother's house, it's SO quiet here at the moment), but we'll be back and then we'll just cuddle extra. Hopefully.

So this is me saying that the blog will be quiet for the next two weeks, cause I was going to be a good blogger and get some posts typed up before I left, but alas, preparation for the journey took longer than I thought it would (as always) and then I got a cold and that's been messing with my blogging mojo.

I wish you a happy two weeks!